Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, has issued the following statement for St George’s day:
“Today we mark the day commemorating England’s patron saint, St George. Although the person behind the St George legend came from the Middle East and never visited this country, he has been associated with England for several hundred years. The evidence about who he was and what he did is limited, but it is thought that he was born in Cappodocia (in what is now Turkey) and that he died in Lydda (modern day Israel) in AD 303. He was apparently executed by the Roman authorities for refusing to observe pagan religious practices.
Whilst St George’s Day generally has not, in modern times, seen celebrations on the scale of those the patron saints of other nations of the British Isles, this is still an opportunity to reflect on our country’s values and celebrate England’s achievements.
St George’s Day is a particularly significant day for scouting. Groups of scouts all over the country will hold parades and gatherings in honour of our patron saint. I pay tribute to everyone involved in scouting in Barnet.
St George’s day is an opportunity to applaud the contribution our country has made in the world. There is of course continuing controversy and regret regarding the cruelty and repression demonstrated during episodes in the history of colonialism. We have had a sad reminder of that with the recent centenary of the Jallianwala Bag massacre.
But that should not drown out the positive legacy of England as a place where democracy, freedom and respect for the rule of law were established long before they emerged in much of the rest the of the world.
Our contribution to arts and culture has also been huge, and continues today. Only the US is ahead of us in the league table for Nobel Prize winners and our world-beating scientists and universities continue to thrive. There is much we can take pride in as a vibrant diverse, multi-faith, multi-ethnic nation. We can also use St George’s Day to celebrate the close relationship we enjoy with our partner nations within the United Kingdom, one of the most successful political unions ever created. I wish everyone a very happy St George’s Day!